University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

2016 Arkansas Education Report Card

In The View from the OEP on April 19, 2017 at 10:35 am

2016 ARRC

Today, OEP is pleased to release our annual Arkansas Education Report Card.  Also this week, the Arkansas Department of Education released the annual School Performance Reports.  Although both reports provide information about student performance on state and national assessments, the reports have different perspectives;  OEP’s Report Card compiles the information to inform a state and regional analysis, while ADE reports district- and school-level information.

OEP’s Report Card includes summary information and analysis of student performance, high school graduation rate, college readiness, student growth, school discipline, National Board Certified teachers,  and education spending in one easy-to-access report.

Highlights from this year’s report card include:

  • ACT Aspire:  Arkansas students in grades 3-10 completed ACT Aspire assessments in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science in Spring 2015, and performed the highest in ELA, with 48% meeting readiness benchmarks. In math, 43% of students statewide met the benchmarks, but in science only 38% of students met the readiness benchmark. Students in 6th grade were most likely to meet the benchmarks in all three subjects.


  • ITBS: In 2015-16, Arkansas’ 1st and 2nd grade reading scores held steady, and math scores rebounded to previous levels after a sharp decline in 2014-15.


  • ACT: For the first time, all 11th graders in the state completed the ACT in Spring 2015, and the results, similar to the results for the graduating class of 2016, show that Arkansas students are more likely to meet college-readiness benchmarks in English and reading than in math and science.


  • High School Graduation Rate: Arkansas’ 2014-15 graduation rate of 85% is above the national average but declined slight;y from the prior year.   continued an upward trend.  The 2015-16 graduation rate released this week, however, bounced back to 87%. In addition, we find that the gap between graduation rates for at-risk students and their more advantaged peers has been reduced by more than half in the past six years.


  • Value-Added Student Growth: The new student growth model examines how students are growing academically. Measuring individual student growth
    over time provides a different perspective than the percentage of students meeting readiness benchmarks. The current two years of growth information are based
    on a variety of assessments but we are optimistic that future years based on consistent assessments may inform educators and policy makers about which schools are providing students high-quality learning experiences.


  • School Discipline: During the 2015-16 school year, school districts reported 59 disciplinary incidents per 100 students. Over 80% of the reported infractions are minor and non-violent. The majority of consequences received by students for misbehavior exclude students from their learning environment, with 57% of the consequences reported as in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension.


  • National Board Certified Teachers: Arkansas is a leader in the percentage of teachers that have received National Board Certification, but we find that they are more likely to work in low-poverty schools.


  • Education funding: Arkansas ranks 11th out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. with respect to the percentage of taxable resources that are spent on education.  Education is consistently supported in the state budget, and progressive for regions in need of support.


We hope the 2016 Arkansas Education Report Card can inform parents, teachers and policy makers as they work to ensure all Arkansas students are on track for success.


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